How can pleasure be unwanted?

: Criticism undesirable: Housing companies obstruct research by the Berliner Zeitung

Berlin - More than 100 applicants were not allowed to run as candidates in the tenant council elections of the state-owned housing associations. Shortly before the elections to the House of Representatives on Sunday, the critical reporting on it seems highly undesirable.

This conclusion is suggested by an internal email from the state-owned housing association Degewo, which is addressed to the other state-owned companies. It also reached the Berliner Zeitung, apparently by mistake.

"Please put off until next week"

“Hello everyone” begins the email from Degewo's spokesman, Lutz Ackermann. He then recommends that the author of this article, who previously asked five questions about the controversial tenant council elections, be put “until next week”. Because a joint press release (PM) of the six companies is in preparation.

"Prevent critical reports before Sunday"

In addition, it is “the position” of the Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment (SenStadtUm) that “critical reports on the tenant council election should be prevented before this Sunday, if possible”. "This is what Mr Pallgen told me yesterday on the sidelines of our laying of the foundation stone," writes Ackermann, referring to the spokesman for the Senate Department for Urban Development, Martin Pallgen.

On Thursday, Degewo, together with the Mitte housing association, laid the foundation stone for around 1,000 apartments in Spandau. When Pallgen is confronted by the Berliner Zeitung with the account of the Degewo spokesman, he immediately denies it. “Neither the Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment nor I as its spokesman have ever issued such a directive,” explains Pallgen. "I did not make such statements to Mr. Ackermann either."

You kindly ask for patience

Shortly after the email from Degewo spokesman Ackermann, the Association of Berlin-Brandenburg Housing Companies (BBU) contacted the Berliner Zeitung and asked "on behalf of all six companies for patience".

In the evening, Degewo keeps its distance. “It can only be a serious misunderstanding,” she explains. The content of the email does not correspond to Degewo's self-image in dealing with the media.

The last election deadlines for the tenants' councils expired only a few days ago, so in some cases “only interim results” are available. "We are currently preparing the final results in a comparative overall presentation and will be announced in the coming week," explains BBU spokesman David Eberhart - well put off.

What the Berliner Zeitung found about a file inspection in the Senate Department for Urban Development, meanwhile, does not throw a good light on the tenant council elections. Degewo admitted to the Senate Administration that three out of 41 rejected applicants were accidentally rejected.

Other applicants were not admitted, in some cases because legal disputes about the smallest payment amounts had already been concluded. According to the files, this involved rent increases of EUR 9.17, EUR 10.72 and EUR 20.42. "If problems arose, the election commissions of the housing associations must clarify this in each individual case," said the spokesman for the urban development authority. "With a view to the elections that have now taken place, we will recommend that the housing associations clarify the election regulations."